Hello Poultry People!
We are going to jump into chickens this year and are trying to get as far ahead of the learning curve as possible. We live on a very hilly lot in the mountains, and we get good sun all year. We are trying to build a decent sized (for 4-6 hens) coop that is fully-enclosed. We have bear, fox, raccoons and other critters to deal with, so we are thinking hardware cloth on all sides. I am also thinking the nest box/egg access needs to be INSIDE the coop, and the coop will need a door with a secure latching mechanism.
I'm not sure we're looking to electrify (with insulators) the coop, but...
Our big concerns are non-chickens getting in to eggs or real chickens, destroying the coop and keeping the girls warm in what can be pretty frigid weather.
So... I turn to you all for brainstorming ideas.
We're thinking a 10' long run with a 4' short side, maybe 6' tall (to allow human acces) and inside that have the raised nesting box and roosts. The trick is to get a droppings-tray for removal of messy stuff but not weaken the structure. And also to give them adequate ventilation but not so much that they get cold (swing doors that can be shut on a few of them in colder weather?). I'm not sure about heat lamps during nights/cold months, but those aren't out of the question, either.